Former President Barack Obama’s budget requests for 2018 will make him the most expensive living ex-president for taxpayers.
According to the Washington Times, Obama’s post-presidential needs will cost taxpayers $1,153,000 next year. The figure surpasses former Presidents George W. Bush by more than $100,000, Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush by more than $200,000 and Jimmy Carter by nearly $700,000.
More from the Times:
By far the biggest cost for ex-presidents is renting office space. Mr. Obama’s office — 8,198 square feet in D.C. — will cost taxpayers $536,000 next year, the most of any ex-president. Mr. Clinton’s New York office is bigger, at 8,300 square feet, but slightly cheaper at $518,000. The younger Mr. Bush’s office in Dallas is $497,000, while his father’s space in Houston is $286,000. Mr. Carter’s Atlanta office is just $115,000.
The 1958 Former Presidents Act provides former living presidents with several lifelong benefits, including taxpayer funded office space, staff, travel and pension.
Post-presidential pensions begin at a base rate of $205,700, but former presidents can ask Congress for additional money. According to the Congressional Research Service memo, which details the numbers, Obama’s pension next year will be $236,000, the highest of his colleagues. Clinton’s is second-highest at $231,000 while the younger Bush’s is third-highest at $225,000.
The Times notes that the 50’s-era law was passed after Harry Truman struggled for income after leaving the White House.
In modern days, however, the presidential office makes a former first family extremely wealthy, which makes one question why former presidents need taxpayer funded anything, yet alone a pension and employment benefits.
In fact, the Clintons have made more than $100 million in their post-White House days. The younger Bushes have also racked up tens of millions in wealth since leaving Washington in Jan. 2009. But the Obamas are expected to eclipse the earnings of any former president with massive book deals and lucrative speaking engagements. Their post-White House career earnings are expected to be measured in hundreds of millions of dollars.